The foreign currency exchange market is the largest financial market in the world. It’s where participants buy, sell and exchange more than 100 different currencies used around the globe. Businesses use the foreign exchange market – which is also known as the forex market, or simply FX – when purchasing goods and services from foreign countries. This complex, decentralized system offers a variety of career opportunities, including foreign currency and investment advisor.

Review this career guide to learn more about foreign currency and investment advisor careers. You’ll discover details about the job, the education and training required to break into the field, potential salary, and where the jobs are.

As the global business environment expands and becomes more complex, the demand for experts in currency exchange is expected to be strong. Financial advisors in all categories should enjoy increased employment opportunities in coming years, according to national data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2011. The BLS projects employment for the financial advisor category to expand 30% through 2018. Prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research regarding actual job growth rates, which vary according to location, education and experience.

What Is a Foreign Currency and Investment Advisor?

Foreign currency and investment advisors advise clients on international transactions and investments.  They help firms gain profits in currency markets by monitoring fluctuating currency values, while moving investments among them. These professionals use their technical and quantitative analysis skills, and knowledge of global economics to achieve organizational objectives.

Why Foreign Currency and Investment Advisors Matter

Firms buying and selling in the global marketplace seek to minimize risk wherever possible. They depend on the expertise of foreign currency and investment advisors to help them avoid the risk of currency fluctuations that can affect profits.

One tactic used by foreign currency and investment advisors to minimize risk is the forward exchange contract. The contract locks in a predetermined exchange rate for a specific transaction, so a company avoids the possibility that a currency will appreciate or depreciate before the transaction occurs. Foreign currency and investment advisors may also manage an organization’s overseas investment strategy and advise on a variety of initiatives, such as multi-currency exchanges. They monitor markets to gauge the optimum time to proceed with mergers, purchases and investments.

Where Can I Find Jobs as a Foreign Currency and Investment Advisor?

Foreign currency and investment advisors are often employed by firms specializing in banking, investments, and other financial services. They may work for investment fund managers, or commodities and futures commission merchants. Foreign currency and investment advisors may also find positions with multinational manufacturers, international consulting firms or import/export companies.

Education Preparation for Foreign Currency and Investment Advisor Jobs

Breaking into the foreign currency and investment field will take some preparation. Specific qualifications will vary, according to the position and employer. However, most positions will require a college degree at minimum.

  • Associate’s Degree: A two-year associate’s degree may equip you with the basics of international business, and qualify you for certain entry-level positions in the field. Advancement often requires a bachelor’s degree.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: A four-year degree, such as a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, mathematics, business management or economics may be sufficient for entry-level foreign currency and investment advisor positions. Courses in investments and risk management may be helpful. Professionals in this field often earn advanced degrees to expand career prospects.
  • Master’s Degree: Many employers will seek out candidates for foreign currency and investment advisor positions with advanced degrees, such as an MBA with a specialization in international business. An advanced degree typically takes an additional one to two years beyond the bachelor’s level.

Some employers may offer tuition assistance to help you obtain a master’s degree.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement

Forex careers can be exciting and fast-paced. They can also require unusual or longer working hours, since the currency markets are open 24 hours per day, five days a week. If you thrive in such an environment, you’ll have an advantage. Knowledge of the laws and regulations governing financial accounts and transactions is generally required when seeking foreign currency and investment advisor positions. If you aspire to a career in foreign currency and investments, it’s a good idea to obtain experience through internships while earning your degree. Many forex companies offer opportunities for college students.

Knowing a foreign language is very helpful, and may be required by top employers; be sure to include it in your career preparation. Languages used regularly in foreign currency exchange markets are Spanish, French, Russian, German, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese and Portuguese. Living and working overseas is often the best way to immerse yourself in any language, culture and currency, so you may wish to seek out opportunities for internship exchange programs.

A foreign currency and investment advisor career requires strong functional business skills in finance and accounting, as well as the following attributes:

  • Flexibility and initiative.
  • Strong math and analytical skills.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, including multiple languages and cultural awareness.
  • The ability to present complex concepts in clear language.

Advancement in this field may be possible with additional work experience or an advanced degree.

Foreign Currency and Investment Advisor Potential Salary

According to a 2010 national survey conducted by U.S. Department of Labor, the average annual salary for financial advisors was $66,580. Because salary potential may vary depending on location, education and experience, prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research to determine actual earning potential.

Does a Foreign Currency and Investment Advisor Career Interest You?

If working in the global financial marketplace appeals to you, then consider exploring a career as a foreign currency and investment advisor. With the help of this career guide, you’ll know how to prepare for a career in this exciting field. 

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